Genus of the Week
Week of March 8-14
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Number of Species: at least 70
Root: Rhamnus is the name of an ancient coastal city located in Greece.
Plants in the genus Rhamnus are usually trees, and are characterized by their thorn-tipped
branches, from which the genus gets its common name, "Buckthorn". The bark and berries of
different species can be used to produce various yellow and green dyes. The juice of the berries
has been used herbally as a purgative. At least two of the European species,
R. cathartica and R. frangula, have become naturalized in North America and are
often considered invasive.
Here are some links to images and information for the genus Rhamnus:
- The Woody Plants of the Central Santa Ynez Mountains web site (Treebeard's Flora) has a
key to the Rhamnus species
that are local to California, along with an individual page for each species.
- On the Plant Families of Southern California web page, brought to you by Loyola Marymount
University, there are links to
three nice photos of Rhamnus species.
- From the University of Cambridge Department of Plant Sciences comes an image of a
from R. catharticus.
- The Old Testament of the Bible contains what is often interpreted as a reference to
Rhamnus, perhaps the
oldest known reference to the genus.
- Read the complete text
of the entry for Rhamnus in Mrs. Grieve's A Modern Herbal at Botanical.com.
- Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Little, Elbert L., ed. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American
Trees, Eastern Region. New York, Alfred A. Knopf: 1980.
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